I love vacation. Warm beaches, time-off where you can disconnect from the never-ending checklist and always full email. There’s something about getting away for a stretch of time to recharge your inner batteries to breathe a little slower and a little deeper.
But, Summer 2016 is going to be a little bit different for A (Alexandra) and I. Heck–it’s going to be super different. Personally, I think we oughta view vacations as a luxury, not a necessity–and Alexandra and I have been fortunate enough to hit up somewhere fun each year we’ve been married.
But not this year. No big vacation.
I want long-term success, not quick, cheap & instant gains. And unfortunately my desire for “things” has always out-weighed my commitment for being financially secure, and out from under MY FREAKING DEBT!
So at the beginning of this year, A and I decided to make some spending changes. We haven’t been perfect, but we’ve made incredible progress. This year we said:
- No big vacation
- No eating out constantly
- No random, big mall shopping days
- No random purchases at Target
- No to big birthday gifts
- No to major house renovations
- As Meghan Trainor puts it, “the answer is, no”
Wait a second… I work hard, you work hard–we deserve to spend our money the way we want! True, but aren’t you tired of always wondering where your money goes each month? I mean wouldn’t it be great to have no credit card debt, no student loans, no car payment…
I want you to know where your money is going each month. I want you to win with your finances. A and I don’t make a ton of money, but we’ve learned how to treat it right.
First off–I’m not judging you. I’m right here with you. I had been making a mess out of my finances for a while, and but I discovered I already had the inner power to start saying “no” to a lot of purchases, and I know that you can too. So let’s focus in on that strength I know is in you and let’s figure out how to put you in the control seat of your finances.
Here’s Why I’m Saying No To Summer Vacation
1. I can throw down an extra $2,000 on my debt by skipping vacation this year.
Vacations are a luxury, not a necessity. Wait – let me say that again. Vacations are a luxury. As in, your hard work does not always merit a vacation because “life is meant to be enjoyed” and “the kids will be robbed of the gift of life if we don’t take them somewhere”. Getting out from under whatever debt you have will free you up to have even better vacations in the future.
2. It freaking sucks having debt–and I’m done letting that debt withdrawal from my account each month.
How much do you enjoy your student loan payment each month? How fun is it paying off all your unnecessary Target & restaurant trips at the end of each month on your credit card? We don’t enjoy paying off those bills, we get pissy about it. You’ve got to decide that you’re done letting debt rule you if you ever want to conquer it.
3. We’re making uncomfortable changes–BUT we know it’s only temporary
This is not a forever thing. Heck no. I love traveling, giving, buying, saving, spending, investing … But I can’t do any of those things to my full potential until I first make the courageous decision to get rid off all the unnecessary expenses & debt. You have to be willing to do what you don’t want to do, in order to achieve what you want. Knowing that this is a temporary way to live makes it tolerable, and will give you focus to keep moving forward.
4. I believe that I am 100% responsible with every dollar that passes through my hands.
We cannot blindly blame our situations and other people on why we’re not who we want to be. Ultimately, this core belief of taking responsibility will drive you even further than paying off debt. It’ll show you what you’re truly capable of. You are in charge, you are responsible. *Drops the mic.*
Ultimately we’ve skipped vacation, shopping trips, expensive date nights, nice dinners with friends NOT because we hate those things (we love them all), but because we want to tell our money where it will go and what it will do.
2 Simple Money Habits To Get Started On Paying Off Your Debt
1. Pay cash for everything
Listen, we still overspend sometimes. In order for us to win A and I have to sit down at the beginning of each month and say, “This is what we’re doing”. Every month we don’t we always mess up. BUT we have no credit cards, no credit lines and no store rewards cards to collect points. We use absolutely 0 credit cards in order to avoid ever owning anything else any money at the end of each month.
2. Pay off debt as aggressively as possible & celebrate your wins.
If you don’t focus, it’ll never happen. I know this because for 3.5 years I passively tried paying down extra on my loans. We chose to put everything extra on this AND we chose to celebrate when we won. We each got brand new kicks and shades + bought some patio furniture so we could enjoy our outside area all summer since we aren’t doing any vacas. But neither of those purchases stopped us from achieving our goal of paying off all student loan debt in 2016. So reward yourself, but wisely.
Gone are the days in our household where we ask each other “why don’t we have any money”. We know exactly what we have, what we can do with it, and our money answers to us now.
A and I see the future we want with our family. To create experiences with our children and take them to places around the world. To show them how to exercise self-control and discipline in all things. To spend less time working and more time with the people we love.
It’s honestly simple: we’re saying no to many things that are shiny, cheap and instantly gratifying right now, so that in years to come we can not only give our family the things we need & want, but we’ll be able to help others in need as well.
Let’s live 10 different lives in the 1 we have right now.
What 1 expense can you cut in your budget that you simply do not need? Is there debt that you’ve been wanting to get rid of? Leave a comment below and share with us any tips that have been helpful for you on your financial journey. Big or small I want to hear!
PS: HAVE YOU MET WITH A FINANCIAL ADVISOR?
I just met with a financial planner who gave me some amazing insight onto what I need to do after my debt is paid off. A and I are no experts, but we’re committed to the journey of becoming financially free, even if we don’t make loads of money right now starting out. Our economic system in the United States is insanely awesome, and we’re going to take advantage of it.
PSS: HERE IS OUR MONTHLY BUDGET SHEET
I attached a screenshot of our monthly budget sheet we use. It’s just a simple spreadsheet that I created, and hopefully it can help you if you’re not sure where to start.
We also use an app called Mint. It’s super modern, simple and safe. You can create budgets and then see how much money you’ve spent in each budget. It’s super effective at knowing exactly how many dollars you have left in every category each month.